Whether your mother is loving or distant, caring or critical, this is a place to stop and reflect about the challenge of that maternal bond.
All daughters and mothers are welcome!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year's Musings

It’s definitely the season for diet drinks and fresh starts, gym memberships and exercise equipment... isn't that normal behavior for the New Year? Spell check just reminded me to capitalize those words, because they signal a new twelve month cycle, 365 days of new possibilities.  Yet self assessment is difficult and re-direction daunting, often causing the wistful hopefulness of New Year’s resolutions to dissipate quickly. In fact, it’s more common to give up on self-improvement goals before the end of January, than to effect lasting change.

So what’s a gal to do in the face of needed overhaul, when energy and finances are limited? The biggest challenge for me is focusing on attainable lifestyle changes, and staying “on track” once I start.  How about you?

            I think a great way to begin is to turn to God’s Word for direction and help. Favorite scriptures bolster resolve because they remind us of God’s promises and His faithfulness.  The Apostle Paul’s proclamation that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” him is a faith booster for all who will take it to heart. (Philippians 4:13)   Other verses encourage Christians to “walk by the Spirit,” leaning on God’s Holy Spirit to direct and change lives.  We are further instructed to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” so we “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) To sustain any lasting change, inner change is necessary; and God is eager that we cooperate with His Spirit so that we might be “transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

            Once we determine new goals, we’ll need help to fight lethargy and discouragement. Recently I noticed this important truth in the Book of Hebrews: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.”  (Hebrews 3:13)  It seems to me that the word “daily” is a critical term pointing to sustained effort.  When we keep the truth of the Gospel close to heart, reviewing it daily, it will be easier to walk in the Spirit and see positive changes in our lives.  As a result, the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) will be produced in our hearts and thus our actions. And by keeping our eyes daily on Christ’s atoning sacrifice and God’s wonderful grace, we’ll stay aware of sin’s polluting influence and deceit.

            All that being said, my desire for you is that 2015 will be filled with blessings for you and those you love.  May you know the joy and peace of our Heavenly Father, and bring Him praise. Have a wonderful new year!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grandma Likes to PARTY

Reaching for the silly lunch box stored high on a shelf in my pantry, my minded flooded with happy thoughts.  A gift from my last birthday, it reminded me of the importance of celebration.  

For folks like me, a bunch of balloons and noise makers, coupled with streamers and cupcakes, really make our hormones bubble!  Birthdays and anniversaries, holidays and holy days, give us great excuses to PARTY.  And why not?  Jesus told us that He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10); and when we think of all He has done in our lives, our spirits want to celebrate.
Over the centuries, however, Christians have gotten a bad rap. Often seen as legalistic, dour and sour, believers have often been categorized as party-poopers. Though we are called to avoid excess, and reject practices that don’t glorify God, there is much we celebrate and numerous fun ways to do it.  Godly celebration is all about thanksgiving, people and joy.  As humans we are created to experience deep joy and contentment.  Knowing our Creator God, and expressing worship to His Name, releases joy that is difficult to describe.  The Old Testament prophet Nehemiah proclaimed “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
            Yet many days are filled with trouble and challenge, making celebration all the more necessary. A new baby, a new job, graduations, and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor are all worthy of festivities marking the events. I thank God that He made us to be a celebratory people who find joy in singing and dancing.  When we are grateful for His blessings, our joy grows exponentially; and memories of past celebrations relieve stress and bring smiles.
            Last July I was blessed by forty folks who gathered to celebrate my birthday.  It was an unusual celebration for a middle-aged woman to say the least…my party centered around the Minion characters of the “Despicable Me” movies.  I’m sure some friends feared I’d gone off the deep end, while others joined neck-deep in the frivolity.  A sweet neighbor made minion cupcakes, another friend helped decorate, a few came in costume, and all had a grand time!  There were coloring pages for the young-at-heart, a photo shoot space, balloons and prizes…my kind of party. The presents I received were all wonderful, and my friends’ presence even more so. My college roommate, a precious gal I met forty years ago, made an appearance by flying down from New York to join the festivities. Truly my heart brimmed with contentment as I testified to God’s goodness in my life in front of such caring folks.

Yes, this grandma has a Minion lunch box and a love for celebration. How about you?

Monday, July 28, 2014


Serendipitous… I love the sound of that word.  Try saying it slowly. When I do, my mouth moves through the syllables normally, until the “dip” part causes my lips to slap in a playful way. The mechanics of it make me pause and even smile. Yet, I can’t remember ever saying it aloud before; haven’t had an occasion to, in everyday conversation.  When I looked up the definition I learned it’s an adjective, meaning: “something occurs, or is discovered by chance, in a happy or beneficial way.” I never expected an unplanned inconvenience, on a dreary, rain soaked day, could turn into a serendipitous occasion. This is what happened.

While driving south to the airport, so a sweet friend could catch a flight back home, I swung my sun visor to the side to shield against the glare.   My sudden movement caused the garage door opener to fling off its perch. Now, my car is small and the opener is the only one I have, so I made a mental note to check for it when I exited the car to say my “good-byes.”  Of course, caught up in a quick emotional farewell, I failed to look for the opener.  Once in River City, busy with errands, I remembered to check under my seat and in the back of the car.  To my dismay, no garage open could be found!
Storm clouds gathered as I decided to back track to the airport to see if the opener had landed on the pavement outside Departing Flights.  Perhaps it was retrieved by a good Samaritan… but no such luck. The courteous gal at curbside check-in said no garage door opener had been turned in, and told me to talk to the security guard about locating the lost and found department.  At that point, all I imagined was a fruitless search, brimming with frustration, and the sinking feeling I had lost our only garage door opener.
What was I to do?  I envisioned myself paying for parking, and traipsing all over the airport in a probable vain attempt to right my world. So, I decided to pray about the situation, small as it was. Then I called my husband, and a dear prayer partner, asking for their petitions and support. Some of you might think I make mountains out of mole hills, or that I definitely have a screw loose; but when I remember to pray about small aggravations, I often encounter sweet blessings. Such was the case that day.
To my surprise, the security guard standing on the curb didn’t “shoo” me away, nor was he impatient with me. Instead of being gruff, demanding that I not doddle along the curb of Departing Flights, he calmly looked up the phone number for the Lost & Found. Truly a gentleman, he wished me well and allowed me to linger while I called in search of my lost garage door opener.  The attendant manning the Lost & Found was equally polite as he took my information and didn’t downplay my situation. Stunned by the unexpected courtesy from both of these men, I was delighted to thank them and compliment them on their service.
Driving away into the storm, without my opener, my heart smiled.  I was able to offer sincere appreciation to two customer service employees, who might not normally get affirmed in the course of a long day’s work. Indeed, I sensed God’s pleasure as I complimented them and spread a little of His love serendipitously!

Not only did my inconvenience bless others, but my Heavenly Father blessed me.  That evening, my husband was able to locate our rascally garage door opener camouflaged in a cranny of the back seat!  A truly serendipitous answer to prayer.  

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
But in all your ways acknowledge HIM 
and HE will make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I've Been Tagged!

My sweet friend Nellie Todd over at Nellie's Cozy Place tagged me today to answer the following questions!  Well...why not?  Those of you who have read my book already now so much about me, but these question prompts are more about personal likes.  How about you?  What would your answers be?

1) Are you named for someone?
     Yes. I was named after my precious Aunt Cherie.  Cherie is my middle name and it means my dear in    French.

2) When was the last time you cried?
     Last Tuesday morning. I had just finished a book by Kristin Hannah, and the drama she wrote really        tugged at my heart.

3) Do you have Kiddos?
    Yes, I am blessed to have a daughter and a son, both grown and living in Kentucky, a loooong drive from     my home.

4) If you were another person, would you be a friend to yourself?
    I have to admit, I've never thought about such a question!  But, I would say "yes," because I love having       friends and being a friend, so I think I would be-friend myself. LOL

5) Do you have a guilty pleasure?
    I really love ice cream, but don't buy it or eat it because of the sugar count.

6) Do you like handwriting?
    I always wished my handwriting was prettier, like my mom's and mother-in-law's.  I treasure handwritten   notes, but do most of my writing on the computer.

7) What is your favorite cereal?
    Oatmeal (hot) or Cranberry Almond Crunch by Post

8) What is the first thing you notice about people?
    Whether or not they are smiling.

9) What is the color of your eyes?
    Blue/Grey.  I lady I worked for in a law office one summer (when I was in college) told me that my eyes are the color of the ocean.  I've always remembered her saying that.  It was such a sweet comment.

10) Scary movie or Happy ending?
    Definitely a Happy Ending!!!  I don't enjoy suspense at all.

11) Favorite TV Shows?
     Well, my husband is a Fox News junkie; but besides that, we enjoy Blue Bloods with Tom                     Selleck, and Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine.

12) Do you like winter or summer?
     Living in the hot and humid South, I suppose I prefer winter, when we get a break!

13) Hugs or Kisses?
     Can a girl pick BOTH?

14) Do you have a special talent?
     I suppose I have a talent for encouraging others, and for stringing words together.

15) Where were you born?
     I was born in New York City.  Hardly lived there though.

16) What are your hobbies?
     Reading, Writing, Drawing, Painting and scrapbooking.

17) Do you have any pets?
     I would dearly love a dog or cat or bunny rabbit. Alas, I have allergies and can not have pets.

18) What's your favorite movie(s)?
     Miss Potter / August Rush / Young Victoria

19) What color is your car?
     Awww, over ten years ago I got a PT Cruiser which I had custom painted after my son damaged the side      panel.  It is two-toned and I consider it my "mid life crisis wheels!"

20) What do you want to be when you grow up?
     A popular author and speaker, making a difference in the lives of others by sharing God's Truth.
  Maybe someday that dream will come true!

Now, precious ones, I'd love to hear your answers!

And I'm TAGGING a few sweet friends...

Jacquelyn Stager at Life Between the Buns
Elaine Olsen at Peace for the Journey
Linda at Spiritual Memoirs 101

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our FLAG...

Stands for FREEDOM!

I'm emotional this year, as we celebrate the 4th of July.
Perhaps because the America I love is changing so rapidly; perhaps because I sense a growing disdain for our country, our flag, our freedoms.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because I have lived in other countries and saluted other flags while studying in foreign lands. I truly believe that AMERICA is Exceptional!  The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  I've heard it said that no other country gives the amount of money in foreign aid that we do!  Our humanitarian efforts are unsurpassed. Yes, we are opinionated, but we are generous and quick to help those in need. I pray that we won't give in to a lethargic, critical, socialistic attitude; but that we will esteem our roots: the blessing of GOD and the bravery of those who purchased our national freedom. May we continue to be defenders of life, liberty and happiness.

AMERICA the Beautiful!
AMERICA the Caring!
AMERICA the Free!

Join me in praying for this awesome country, that our leaders will have wisdom from on high, and that they will acknowledge the blessing of Almighty GOD.  May we humble ourselves and turn from our sinful ways (the greed and selfishness that tries to overtake us), and seek the face of our CREATOR.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Saturday, June 21, 2014

LOVE Without Conditions

Growing up, love was elusive.  The more I wanted to feel connected, the more distance I sensed.  I suppose that’s common in households with substance abuse. When parents struggle to squelch their own emotional pain, there’s not much energy left to tend to their children’s hearts and souls.
In my house, Mother was a classy, complicated alcoholic.  Our relationship was always strained.  Still, as her firstborn and only daughter, I yearned for closeness.  Then, after years of shouldering her pain and meeting her needs, I finally broke free.  Unfortunately, the scene that followed my betrayal of independence was the stuff of nightmares.
Mom was starting a new life in Colorado, ending a failed 20 year marriage to my dad.  She needed my help with the drive from New Jersey, and the unpacking.  The journey would take nearly three weeks (the summer before my senior year of college), so I left my part-time jobs and my boyfriend, to be of service.  Everything about that trip was a challenge! To top it off, the movers were delayed by over a week.
Unable to settle her “nest,” tensions ran high in my mother who tried desperately to control the issues and people in her life.  Her fury reached a crescendo one August afternoon when I took the initiative to call the airlines, reserving a return flight to Jersey.  Mom’s thinking probably went like this: How dare my daughter take matters into her own hands!  How unfair of her to choose to leave before the movers arrive… before all the work of unpacking!
Oblivious to anyone else’s needs, Mom’s anger reached a new zenith as soon as I hung up the phone. Immediately she unleashed a tirade of abuse that scorched my soul.  Mom physically backed me into the guest room, where I cowered in the corner, hands over my face.  Though I began to sob uncontrollably, she continued to spew her rage.  As she exited the room, slamming the door, she screamed, “You are the scum of the earth!”
I was stunned and broken hearted.  Once again, my efforts to help my mother had fallen short.  It wasn’t my fault that the movers were delayed and we were in limbo, roaming an empty house.   But I had taken a stand, making a decision that was best for me, and she was livid. The wounds her tongue inflicted that day left lifelong bruises.  All I wanted was to feel loved, and instead I was labeled a disappointment.

Ever since childhood, I thought love was something you earned.  Maybe if I worked hard enough in school and brought home stellar grades, I’d feel loved.  Maybe if I kept my mouth shut, and only spoke kind words, I’d feel loved.  Maybe if I agreed with everyone’s opinion, I’d feel loved. Maybe if I lost the extra weight, I’d feel loved.  It seemed to me only those who were beautiful and compliant were loved.
            However, when the standard is perfection everyone fails.  When love is conditional, no one feels secure.   It took years for me to understand I wasn’t alone in my struggle to feel loved. I finally realized that imperfect parents, who felt unloved as children, often pass the same feelings to their offspring.  But there is One who loves us beyond measure; the One who gave His life so we could experience true love, and live whole. 

            A couple of years after I first met Jesus, He confronted the neediness in my heart.  It had been over 6 years since that awful episode with my mother, and I was now eight months pregnant with my first child.  Taking an afternoon break with a book in hand, I lounged on the sofa with my legs propped up. The afternoon sun filtered through the curtains, spreading a delightful warmth over my body as my baby kicked softly inside my womb. Absorbed in the words I was reading, I relaxed and relished the stillness of the house.
            Suddenly I hear a voice say, “Let me love you.  Let me love you.”

            At once I recognized the speaker.  How like God to interrupt my thoughts, affirming my heart with gentle assurance.  He loves me despite my imperfections and shortcomings.  Ever the gentleman, He asked me to accept His unconditional love.  What a blessing!  And just in time.  Within weeks I would begin my own motherhood journey.  I needed to be secure in Jesus’ unconditional love, so I could pass it on to my daughter…even if imperfectly.

Thursday, June 12, 2014



This summer, when schedules relax a little, take time to tend to your heart!
Just as we need to keep after the weeds in our gardens, we also need to weed our hearts for "roots" of unforgiveness and resentment.

Because my memoir, THE MOTHER GAP, addresses how forgiveness brings connection and peace, I'm offering it along with another timely book as a summer Give-Away.  If you've already read these, they still make wonderful gifts!

Here's how you enter to win:  Leave a comment here about a lesson you learned from your mom that has made a difference in your life.  I will take the names of those who comment, and add them to the comments on our FB page The Mother Gap... drawing a name on JUNE 29th!

Summer Blessings~